Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Mary's Guide to Quick Car Maintenance
for the Automotively Impaired
I used to think that cars were complicated
and mysterious in their workings. The idea that I could do my own basic
repairs was laughable. I did not know how to check the pressure in my tires
and had no idea that my transmission needed fluid.
After killing off a few innocent cars, my husband changed all that. He enlisted
my help in fixing his cars and I actually learned something!
Things you should always keep
in your car - This is information
everyone with a car should read. I also provide tips on things you should
do and things you should never do.
How does my car
is not a complicated schematic or anything. I explain the basics of how
a car works that any 10 year old could understand and walk you through solving really basic problems. If you understand how
your car works - you will be able to make some sense out of it when it
doesn't work. Most repair garages are honest and hard working - but there
are some out there that are not. Understanding how your car works may save
you some time and money at a disreputable shop.
Basic car trouble-shooting
guide - . This
page gives tips to common problems. I am not a mechanic and this page will
not tell you how to do anything complicated - but it may keep you from
paying an expensive bill to fix something silly.
Drivers to Aviod
- A humerous look at a serious problem. Learn to recognise problem
drivers and avoid them.
Things you should always
keep in your car
For a copy of the list below that is simple
to print out just Click Here and
send message. This is an automated service so please do not include a message
as I won't get it here.
To contact Camp-A-Roo Click
Things to check before a trip
(once a month is a good idea
Car Water - My
family drinks bottled water but we bring a milk container full of tap water
along for the car.
A Screw Driver - Both
a philips head and a regular screwdriver are recommended.
A Spare Tire - It
may sound obvious - but if you have had a flat recently you may still be
driving on your spare.
A Can of Fix-A-Flat - Why
change a tire if you don't have to? This stuff is great for fixing those
slow leaks and small punctures.
A Lug Wrench and Jack - You
won't be able to do much without these! Many cars have special jacks that
are fairly model specific so don't count on borrowing a friends.
A Hubcap Key - Many
cars have hub caps that lock onto the rim. If you don't have the key or
your key is worn you will not be able to change your tire and neither will
anyone else - you can only get these keys from a dealership.
Duct Tape - You
can use this stuff for an amazing number of things. You can tape a leaking
radiator hose (dry it first). My muffler fell off on a trip and I taped
the exhaust pipe to the bumper to keep it from dragging on the ground.
A Bike Pump
- You can pump up your tires with this. It is more work than at the gas
station, but tire pressure is only measured correctly when the tires are
cool - before you drive it.
- These are very simple to use but make sure you put them on the right
terminals of your battery!
An Air Pressure Gauge
- My hubby found a digital one for under $15 bucks - he loves it!
Motor Oil -
at least a quart.
Transmission Fluid and a funnel
- Most cars are a nightmare to get transmission fluid into. A good funnel
and a rag will make the job much easier.
Pliers and/or adjustable wrench
Some car problems can't be anticipated
or avoided - but many can.
Don't spend half of your vacation
with your car in the shop because you forgot something simple!
A car seat that becomes loose in an accident
becomes a dangerous projectile. Car seats should never be in the front
of the vehicle - if you have air bags or not. It is reccomended that all
children under the age of 12 ride in the rear of the vehicle at all times.
Car seats are not designed to face the rear of your vehicle or be on a
side-facing bench. The seat is simply not designed to handle impact from
these positions and you put your child at risk when using the seat improperly.
Check your oil
Check your transmission fluid - For
automatic transmissions only! You have to check the fluid level when the
car is running and is warmed up. Some cars require that you check the fluid
while the transmission is in park - others recommend you check it while
the car is in neutral. This information is sometimes found on the dip stick
- otherwise check your owners manual.
Check your power steering fluid
Check your brake fluid - This
fluid is quite acidic so use caution and wash your hands when you are done!
If you find yourself adding brake fluid on a regular basis, you have a
Check your brake pedal
- If you push down on your brake pedal and it feels much softer than normal
or seems 'mushy' get it checked!
Check your air cleaner element - Hold
your air cleaner up to the sun and try to look through it. If you can't
see daylight - it's time for a new one.
Check your coolant level - Never
open the radiator when the engine is hot!
Check your tire pressure
Check your tires for unusual wear - You
can avoid costly tire bills by checking your tires regularly. If you see
wear on the inside or outside edge of your tire you probably need an alignment.
A good alignment will extend the life of your tires a great deal.
Check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid
Check your lights - Make
sure headlights, high beams, tail lights, emergency hazard lights, backing
lights, and turn signals all work.
Wash your wind sheild
- Some products like Rain-X will actually treat the glass, and will make
travel more enjoyable (the bugs roll right off)
Check your childs car seat -
Many injuries occur each year because parents don't use car seats for their
children - but did you know that there are plenty of injuries caused by
improperly installed car seats? I read that almost 50% of car seats are
not installed correctly or do not fit the vehicle correctly. My hubby and
I have several cars and had to buy a second car seat so we could safely
transport our children.